Friday, May 18, 2007

Chicken n' dumplings...

That's what's for dinner tonight. The chicken is already simmering. It's making me hungry and it won't even be ready for a couple more hours.

I decided yesterday that we'd have chicken & dumplings tonight. It's one of my comfort foods, one that I love no matter how often I've had it, and one that I'll decide to make at the slightest provocation. The mere mention of chicken is usually enough for me to drag out the big pot and start boiling some water.

I was on the phone with a friend and she was talking about chicken, how she doesn't like it... and I got a sudden craving for dumplings.

So I'm thinking about her as I'm cooking... and thinking about her makes me think about fertility. Because she talks about it a lot.

I guess you'd call her a habitual miscarry-er. Sorry, I just can't use the phrase 'habitual aborter' however medically correct it may be. She's had a couple of ectopics, and a few miscarriages. She has no idea why. She's never had any testing done... and now that she's engaged to a man who does not want (more*) children, she is facing the prospect of a life without ever having those answers, or having a child.

Which, I guess, is her prerogative. Even if I don't understand it, it's not my decision.

But it does bother me. Especially since I can see how much it bothers her.

She's the best example of the passive approach to infertility that I know. I'm talking about the women (or men, tho I've not met any of those) who are profoundly affected by an inability to conceive or carry, but who are unwilling to walk the path of testing and treatment. Not unable, but unwilling.

Since I'm pretty wide-open about our fertility, I hear a lot of stories from the women I know. Some of them want information on where to go, what options are open or just how to deal with the frustration and emotion. I'm all about that.

.. and yet, I get a ton of The Others, too.

The ones who want a shoulder to cry on when they're not pregnant, or someone to understand their pain... despite the fact that they're unwilling to actually do anything to change their situation, or despite the fact that they've voluntarily placed themselves in a situation that is not going to change. Ever.

I can cry for months with the woman who's taking a break from treatment because of a deployment, a cyst or just plain exhaustion. I will gladly hold the hand of a friend or stranger who is frustrated that testing moves so slowly, or produces no answers. I can be there forever for a person whose infertility is unexplained and untreatable... but I have a hard time relating to the woman who is disappointed month after month, but has no plans to even try to move ahead and do something. Even if that something isn't a treatment I would have chosen.. even if that something is just a firm belief in a higher power who will assist when it's time... or an alternative approach that differs from my choices. Or a resolve to move on to a new phase in life, one that doesn't involve reproduction. At least that something I can understand.

Sitting back and doing nothing, with no plans to ever do anything.. that's the something I don't understand. I can't understand, no matter how much I try. It's not even a something, it's a nothing.

How do you deal with the friend whose approach is a nothing? How do you bite your tongue and be supportive when what you really want to do is start belting out suggestions? I haven't found that happy medium yet. For now, I'm taking a passive approach of my own, steering the conversation towards easier topics.

And making my chicken n' dumplings...

*he has four already, from previous relationships.

1 comment:

DD said...

That is one of my co-workers. If you had a unknown cyst growing out of your head, one would think you'd have that checked out. Get it diagnosed; get it treated; whatever.

However, when it comes to infertility it's not something that they can see or feel (in most cases). When those people decide to do nothing, then really ther's NOTHING you can do, either, except listen. Maybe that's all they really want.